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despite outshooting their opponents
Tweet For Norway, qualifying for the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament was huge. Mikko Koivu Jersey . The country known for pretty much all other winter sports, hasnt participated in the Olympic hockey tournament since 1994 when the country hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.   To beat other IIHF World Championship teams France and Denmark in the qualifying tournament a year ago was a sign of the Nordic country’s improving hockey program, which should get another boost from this tournament.   With only one NHLer on the roster -- and even defenseman Ole Kristian Tollefsen is a marginal case having cleared waivers last week and now playing for the AHLs Grand Rapids Griffins -- Norway starts the tournament behind the rest of the pack. But the core of the team has gone through several World Championships and has pushed the big nations to their heels. Maybe one of them will finally fall in Vancouver.   If nothing else, the players will get an unforgettable experience on Feb 16 when they take on Canada in the opening game of the tournament. Goalies Even if Pal Grotnes hasnt been dazzling in the Norway GET-Ligan this season, coach Roy Johansen is likely to at least start the tournament with the 32-year-old veteran who played most of the games in the last two World Championships when Norway teased Canada, Finland and Slovakia. This season, Grotnes has a 3.17 goals-against average in the Norwegian league. That’s 11th among 18 goalies in the league. But in a one-game tournament, one hot game will be enough to produce a Norwegian miracle, and Grotnes has shown in the past that he has the potential. Should he stumble, Johansen will probably give the nod to 22-year-old Ruben Smith who’s fifth in the Norwegian league goalie statistics. The third goalie, Andre Lysenstoen, plays in the Finnish second-tier league, and the jump to the world stage may be too big. NORWAY OLYMPIC PRIMER IIHF Ranking: 11 Head coach: Roy Johansen No. of NHL players on Olympic roster: 1 2006 Olympic result: did not qualify Olympic medals: None Defense Norway’s defense is built on two players from the Swedish Elitserien, a Finn-become-Norwegian from the Norwegian league, a veteran from the German DEL, and Tollefsen. That’s why the team will have to be ready to make some sacrifices and defend with all five players to have a chance against the Canadian or American team in the opening group games. Miracles do happen, but Norway will have to keep their defensive game simple, and have faith in the fact that five players pulling together is more than five players not doing it. Besides Tollefsen, 39-year-old Tommy Jakobsen - the only player returning from the 1994 team - will be looked to for leadership. Forwards If the Norwegian defense had some Swedish influence, then the offense is purely Swedish, with nine players playing in the Swedish Elitserien. And then there’s former NHLer Patrick Thoresen, who these days plays for Salavat Yulayev Ufa, and plays well: two weeks ago he played in the KHL All-Star Game. Even if Norway doesn’t boast with a roster packed with NHLers, there’s a lot of speed and skill coming at the opponents when Norway gets the puck. Per-Age Skroder won the Swedish Elitserien scoring title last season, and has this year scored 17 goals in 47 games, eighth in the league and one less than his teammate - both on Modo and Team Norway - Mats Zuccarello Aasen who also leads Modo in ice time this season. With the power play being as important as it is, Team Norway has an opportunity to surprise. Give them a little space and they will jump on the chance. Star gazing Everything is relative, and the Norwegian stars may be from another galaxy, compared to the ones that the big nations have. But Patrick Thoresen is just as bright a star as any of them. Last season, he collected 63 points in 48 games in the Swiss National League A and has this season averaged a point a game in the Russian KHL. That says Thoresen is, at 26, just beginning to reach his potential and may return to the NHL where hes played 106 games with the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers.   Striking it rich Team Norway has to be just that, a team. If they move as a unit, defend as a unit, and use their scoring chances, especially on the power play, they can at least shake the other teams. Add to that a goalie who decided to play the games of his life in Vancouver, and a Zuccarello Aasen who will show the world why he plays over 22 minutes a game in Sweden, most of all forwards in the league, on a team that also has Markus Naslund and Peter Forsberg. Cincinnati Bengals Nike Jersey .7 percent and 31 percent year-on-year, reflecting the robust growth of Asian markets and the gradual recovery in the advanced economies, the citys Census and Statistics Department said Tuesday. Montreal Canadiens Jersey . The three Ballon dOr finalists were named Monday from 23 nominees. Messi beat Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi to win last year. Messi also won the award two years ago when France Football magazine chose the best player in Europe. Cal Clutterbuck Jersey . Louis Cardinals were crowned World Series Champions. Free agency has kicked off and remains completely open for business, yet many of the biggest names have remained on the market. Milan Lucic Jersey . Andre Iguodala added 13 points and nine assists and Elton Brand scored 10 for the Sixers, who have won two straight to improve to 2-2 on a five-game road trip that ends Saturday in Portland. Philadelphia moved a half-game ahead of New York for sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Alterraun Verner Jersey . The only problem is Cooke plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team owned by the Hockey Hall of Famer. The oft-penalized Cooke received the stiffest sentence yet in his 12-season NHL career when he was suspended Monday by the league for the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs for elbowing defenseman Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers in the head one day earlier.EDMONTON -- By throwing a scare into Canada on Saturday, the United States squad says it found something to build on as it limps into the relegation round of the world junior hockey championships. The Americans fought back from a 3-0 deficit with two late goals in a 3-2 loss to Canada to finish the preliminary round at 1-3, out of the medal round. The game was meaningless before it began, as Canada had already finished first in the five-team B pool with a perfect record while the Americans were fourth, ahead only of winless Denmark. U.S. defenceman Jarred Tinordi said the standings were irrelevant. "Everyone in the room was amped up for that game," said the six-foot-seven Tinordi, who plays defence for the London Knights of the OHL. "Were still wearing the USA sweater, and that has a lot to do with it. Were playing for pride now. "In the second two periods we really showed what our team was made of. Those were our two best periods of the whole tournament." The Americans came alive late in the final frame when Charlie Coyle lifted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Canadian goaltender Scott Wedgewood. That was followed by a wraparound goal by captain Jason Zucker. Zucker said they simply ran out of time. "If we had a couple more minutes we might have had a couple more chances and maybe put one in, but they played solid throughout," said Zucker, a Minnesota Wild prospect. "It was a little bit chippy, but thats the Canada-U.S. rivalry." The tournament could only be described as disappointing for the team that won it all in at the world juniors in 2010. After beating the Danes 11-3 in the opener, the Americans ran into hot goaltenders against Finland and the Czech Republic and lost despite outshooting their opponents by a wide margin. Aaron Hernandez Youth Jersey. Finlands Sami Aittokallio turned aside 38 shots in a 4-1 win while Petr Mrazek of the Czech Republic stopped 52 of 54 in a 5-2 win. The loss to the Czechs marked the first time the U.S. team has lost back-to-back games at the world junior championship since 2009. It was also the first time it lost two preliminary round games since the 2007 tournament. The Canadian fans did their best to make the Americans feel unwelcome. They cheered every U.S. opponent, booed the Americans mercilessly, and mockingly chanted the surname of U.S. goalie Jack Campbell. Campbell said he heard it, but didnt mind at all. "As weird as this may sound Im so thankful the fans are this involved in hockey," said Campbell, a Dallas Stars draft pick. "Obviously they werent chanting my name to root for me, but its a special thing I can tell my grandkids about: 20,000 people were screaming my name." Forward J.T. Miller says he took the boos as a measure of respect. "Its actually a pretty cool feeling. (It means) we have a pretty good reputation then, and it makes (the fans) a little worried." Miller said the Americans will be ready for the relegation round, which determines which team is dropped from next years world championship. But he admitted it wont be the same. "For the USA not going for a gold medal, it still kind of blows my mind," he said. Notes: Three Americans led the team in scoring in the preliminary round. Coyle, a San Jose Sharks prospect, chalked up four goals and one assist. Bill Arnold, a Calgary Flames draft pick, registered two goals and three assists, while Zucker collected two goals and three assists. ' ' '

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